And that would be a bad thing, because Rise of the Planet of the Apes hoses off any stink Burton left behind. Its one of the years nicest surprises.
An origin story to the sci-fi franchise that began on the big screen in 1968, Rise draws upon story elements of 1972s Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (entry No. 4 for those as geeky as I), depicting how the baby monkey dubbed Caesar came to unite all gorillas, chimps and orangutans to overthrow the humans who have oppressed them.
Its the fault, if unintended, of a scientist (James Franco, 127 Hours) just trying to cure the Alzheimers eating away at the memories of his father (John Lithgow, TVs Dexter). Science has to test on animals first for safety, and Caesar is the guinea pig er, monkey who experiences remarkable intelligence.
Too much brilliance, eventually leading to Rises bravura climax, an extended sequence in which Caesars assembled armies invade San Francisco by way of the Golden Gate Bridge. Director Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist) stages this with pulse-raising tension, made possible by incredible special effects. The apes you see raising Cain are CGI, with the most remarkable being Caesar, in a startling motion-capture performance by Andy Serkis (King Kong).
Consider how far the series has come: The original film earned an Oscar for its breakthrough makeup that turned men into monkeys. Now, no simian suits are needed, letting computers do the work. Its the appeal of the Apes concept that stays unchanged.
At first glance, the Blu-rays "Mythology of the Apes" featurette looks to be an appreciation for the entire franchise, but only does that for about a minute before turning into your standard studio promo for this film only. Twelve minutes of deleted scenes are less interesting for any one moment than they are to see Serkis all dolled up in his motion-capture suit, rather than the CGI Caesar with which he was replaced. Rod Lott